|Card draw simulator|
Odds: 0% – 0% – 0% more
|None. Self-made deck here.|
Long days and pleasant nights, ka-tet of Thrones!
Best open up your gullets, because you’ve got some tasty recaps chug-chugging your way on a spoon named “Sea Bitch.” [Brett, that’s at least three mixed metaphors. You’ve forgotten the face of your father. -Ed.]
I’ve piloted this steamy pile to consecutive undefeated records at GNKs, so I thought you fellow rubber-net-deck-neckers might want to take a gander.
Quick, but integral, aside: if you couldn’t tell, I just finished reading “The Dark Tower.” It rocked all three of my socks. Highly recommend you pore through those puppies before the film “adaptation” comes out this summer.
About the deck:
This deck was born of frustration.
My “Bugatti Balon” build was twice trounced by Chris Lavin’s Jumping Lanni Rains, so I decided that I was going to play three Gravity Wells in our local Store Championship. I built a Stark Fealty deck that tried to out-Wall NW decks and had tons of tech for Lanni Rains. It was at best super boring and at worst almost made me hate Thrones. I finished a mediocre 3-2, with one crushing victory over Lanni Rains (Gravity Wells on setup!) and two testicle-blasting losses to Tyrell (including one to Chris Lavin, who is now the nicest arch-nemesis I have ever known).
My big takeaway from that day was that I hate bringing decks that can’t make plays. Allow me to expound, if you will. [They’ll just stop reading, if they want to. -Ed.] Decks like Night’s Watch Wall, Bara Dinner Party, Stark No-No, and Tyrell Summer Rush generally don’t make plays. Instead, they aim to avoid mistakes. Are there decision points about what to play, who to kneel, when to defend, etc.? Of course. They do not, however, allow you to use your plot line over the course of several turns to swing a game from an unfavorable or contested position to a win.
This playstyle drives me up the fucking Wall in a shoddy wooden elevator.
I wanted flexibility. A deck that could apply early pressure, or build the perfect post-Valar hand, or lean one way and juke back in the other. I wanted to at least attempt to outmaneuver somebody. It’s a much more fulfilling way to lose.
I was drawn to Targ/Kraken for a few reasons:
- I could use my favorite character: Asha Greyjoy.
- I could use my favorite character with her biffle, Carl.
- Targ’s Valar-game tools are so much fun: Fire and Blood, Pile of Sticks, and Visser One, to name a few.
- Greyjoy’s stealth, location control, and saves nicely complement Targ.
At that same Portsmouth NH SC (shout out to Diversions Puzzles and Games), Tom Melucci of Darth Vader World Champion Playmat fame played Targ-Kraken to a top-4 finish, so I sent him my list and we chatted a bit. We were on the same page with events and locations, but our plots and character base ended up being pretty different.
Tom’s inclusion of 2x Kevin Costner was the most important element that I stole. They weren’t flashy includes, but they were dependable, just like their namesake. We went back and forth about lots of card choices, like Dr. Miriam M. Durr M.D., NML, and what to do for a second economy plot. Big shout out to him for indulging me in frequent chats about the list.
Eventually, over the course of several iterations, I arrived at the list you see today. Some thoughts on card choices:
- I slowly dropped 3x Chintarion out of this list. He was another expensive body that didn’t help with the intrigue weakness. The deck had been too expensive, especially considering you need to hold one gold back every single turn for Dracarys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. He was redundant and often discarded to reserve.
- I dropped Mirri out of my version for the same reasons.
- I went with 2x Noble Cause after trying Pentoshi and Calling in that slot. They make it easy to play those Newly-Made Lords. Boards are often too small for effective Callings; Asha prefers Noble to Pentoshi (and the single extra reserve is more relevant than you might think.)
- Wildling Scizouts over Vendameer and Playwrights largely for the 2-STR intrigue icon, without sacrificing much if any effectiveness against Night’s Watch. You won’t feel bad about popping them early game if you know your Valar is around the corner.
- The cheeky Aqua Jesus rounded out the cost curve and icon spread. He was a relatively late include for me, but I’ve discovered that he can be gamebreaking. More on that later…
- Triple Nightmares is glorious, and oh-so-versatile. You’re always saving one gold to threaten the Dracarys!!!&$^!!!!. Being able to give that one gold extra teeth is nice. Sometimes, you can even save four gold to bluff triple drac/nightmares, but then slam your opponent with Ours is the Old Way.
LONG ASIDE ABOUT THIS CARD:
The northeast got buried with eighteen feet of snow the other day, so the Boston meta had a Discord/ironthrone.net party. As part of the festivities, I asked what everybody thought was the worst card in the game.
“Ours is the Old Way,” they whinged.
“Pish-posh! Give me five minutes and I will break that card,” I retorted into my tinny headset.
I set a timer for five minutes, hopped onto thronesdb, made a GJ Feelty file, and set to work. Double Littlefinger's Meddling? Yes please. Dissension, Put to the Sword to take further advantage of the plots. As many cheap icons as I could find to take advantage of the additional stealth. Round it out with some typical Pirate-y awesomeness. I finished constructing with 11 seconds left on the clock. Time to take it for a spin against Steve “You Can’t” Cope.
I opened Littlemonger’s Fingering and set up Asha and some chuds to his Drogo et al. While I did have my bomb armed and ready, sitting on two gold, I decided to wait until turn two. Let’s see how many stealthers we can get on the board at once!
Turn two, I followed with my second Littledinglers Peddling and added a beefy Drowned Men to my board. Steve summoned a second dragon egg and immediately hatched him. Okay, time to rock. “OURS IS THE OLD WAY,” I cackled, primed to go to town with my sneaky Asha, Priest, Drowned Men, and Fishmonger. Time to show all of you what this card can do.
While my would-be unopposed intrigue challenge resulted in a Drac’d Priest, I was able to follow it up with an unoppose-able military challenge with Asha. Note that Asha now had two instances of stealth, which is amazing tech for the ever-popular Maester of Starfall. [That character can’t remove stealth. -Ed.] Asha was, of course, also Drac’d, but it was still a card out of his hand. Finally, my lowly Iron Islands Fishmonger was able to stealth in for an unopposed power challenge! Really strong stuff.
Stephen cleared my board that turn and won in the following round.
[Brett begged me not to cut that long, rambling, irrelevant part of the report. When I told him how useless it was, he started crying. -Ed.]
Anyway, back to the deck.
I tested it at local game nights and an SC, finally getting rounding it into the form you see today.
It went undefeated at our 10-player Tyrion’s Chain pack release (wins over Bara/Tyrell/Martell/Stark) and, against all odds, I was still having fun with it. (I usually build a deck, play it that day, and deconstruct it that night.) So I decided to take it to our monthly GNK, now with 100% more Sea Bitch.
Pourquoi le nom? Well, as a theatrical lighting designer I know that the colors red (TARGARYEN) and blue (GREYJOY) mix to give you purple. [Technically, they make magenta. -Ed.] The visible spectrum is my jam! One step further, the band “Deep Purple” is perhaps best known for their song “Smoke on the Water,” which also would have been a fitting deck name had I not railed against such deck titles a few weeks ago.
Opinion: if your deck name could also be the name for a really mind-blowing drug, a prog rock band, and an assassin’s call sign, then... boom.
Let’s get to the game recaps at long last, shall we? I had to delay this report a bit since Tom was playing something similar at Thrones W.A.R., but I wrote it while the games were fresh in my mind.
The nicknames you see are my own flights of fancy. [They have been cross-referenced with past reports for consistency. -Ed.]
Round 1, vs. Zeb “McCool” McGill (Stark Frailty)
Zebby baby was playing an rush-oriented version of Stark focused on protecting Fast Eddie and The Wolf King.
He opened with Jory, Ice, John Travolta, and econ to my Asha, Kingsroad, Viserion. Ice is slippery and cold so I immediately melted it with a Confiscation. “Oh no!” Zeb said with a giggle. Zeb always has fun while playing, no matter what is happening. I love our games. Note to self: more under-the-table footsie with Zeb.
I drew back up into Carl and plopped him down turn 1. Biffle Combo Online. Zeb played Hot Rod and a chud. From there, I was able to put immense pressure on with two military challenges each turn. Turn two I responded to his Eddie/Wolf King combo with my Visser One. My double two-claim military on turn two left him with Eddie alone (despite Jory’s two-claim-saving shenanigans). Mr. Ed was Marched on round three. Zeb wasn’t running a reset, I assume, as he shook my hand soon thereafter.
Round 2, vs. Michael “Paper” Towle (Martell Summer)
Michael is one of my good friends and frequent acting partners. We often talk to each other in Australian accents, a custom that usually devolves into us saying “paper towels” (in Australian: PIE-ee-eh-peh TAI-uhls) over and over again. I can’t remember why this started. Regardless, I’ve now declared it his Thrones nickname.
He got off to a fantastic start with Nymeria, Ghaston, economy, and a good icon spread. I had two Dracs but no Dragons, an early duped Daeny, and not much else. I immediately started focusing on cards in hand and playing towards the Valar. A preparatory NML took care of Ghaston Grey. When my wipe arrived, I had added a Crown of Gold to my arsenal, along with a Fire and Blood to bring back a dead Viserion. He lost four chuds and Nymeria, but had done a good job of holding back Kingsroads and cards in hand. Still, post-Valar I was able to leverage my three -4 STR kill effects on Myrcella Baratheon, Elia Sand, and a finally a House Dayne Knight to keep his board clear. Martell really can suffer against Targ.
Michael is a methodical player, so when time was called I had a 13-4 advantage, with five characters to his empty board.
Round 3 vs. Winston Ghostbane (NW Failty)
Winston made the treacherous drive north despite the snow. “There were a bunch of cars that had skidded into ditches, but I was fine.” Crushing it.
And fitting that he played the northernmost faction! Winston did lament having to play boring old Watch, as he had accidentally grabbed it instead of something, anything more fun.
I had my best start of the day, with duped Asha, Daeny, some dragons, and Drac in hand. He had a solid start with OverCurve Joe, Milk for Asha, Haunted Forest, and the Wall. While he had the complementary pieces, he didn’t have the bodies he needed, so he Valar’ed to my Marched turn two. I Marched Daeny in hopes of redrawing her, then I repopulated with Theon and The BDSM Superstore. For the next four rounds, I was able to keep his board presence to a minimum, slipping a couple of unopposed through here and there. I also replayed Daenerys, which helped me win the cards-in-hand battle.
Still, Craven and Haunted Forest slowed me down considerably, and I had to Valar myself on plot seven. (I had been worried about pinning my Valar, but had so many cards in hand that I felt confident I could close things out on plot eight.) Fire and Blood moved Daeny into my discard pile, and I was able to play her for a third time that game on plot eight, when I had a ~13-5 power lead.
I made a horrific error in not choosing to go first (my Marched to his For the Watch!), then made another horrific error in using Daeny in my first challenge, so I paused and had a breather. This might be the hardest part about playing against NW. You’re calculating so many stupid little strength increases for such an extended period of time, and that wears on you.
Finally: “I’m going to Sea Bitch the Wall,” I said. I declared no more challenges, and won with Wall + dominance power.
Round 4 vs. Ben “Swanky B” Swainbank (Tyrell Rains)
Ben had been tearing it up all day by all accounts, so I was really excited to see if I could overcome all of those strength pumps and that intrigue pressure.
He jumped out to a massive lead with duped Dickhead, Knight of Flowers, Baxter, and duped Butterbumps. I had Asha and Drogo, but very little in the way of support. While I made a deliberate effort to take my foot off the gas and defend, he was able to March my Asha to his Landscaper turn two. Despite my staunch defending (putting no power on my house for him to steal) and Nightmares use, he raced out to a 8-0 power lead and things were not looking good. My saving grace was that he did not have many intrigue icons, so I was able to protect the Daeny and Drac and Pyre in my hand and play towards a Valar.
Aqua Jesus was my savior this day. For one, he defended my hand valiantly pre-Valar. Then, on my Valar turn, I had only him and Carl and an Iron Mines. I used the Iron Mines to save Aeron, then knelt out the three characters Ben was able to save. I safely repopulated with a dragon, then added another and Daenerys on the following turn.
A big swing came when Ben finally tested the waters with Randyll, only to have him meet his end in the form of Drac. With him down a couple of power and that big body, I was able to turn the tide, grind his board with a two-claim-into-marched sequence, and follow Daeny to a win.
Magister Ian, our FLGS manager, generously combined GNKs so that I won a set of 15 Baratheon tokens, which are considerably more useful than a set of five would have been. Thanks, Ian!
There you have it: a glimpse into what I think is a fun, flexible, strong deck. It has plenty of tools to handle NW, and can go toe-to-toe with Lannister. You get to play dynamic characters with flashy effects and make long plans like Doran. I believe I’ve now played this deck more than any other in my history of playing 1.0 and 2.0. (I’m much more likely to build a deck the morning of a tournament and disassemble it after.) Give it a shot!
- Aqua Jesus for that last win
- Asha Greyjoy for being a boss piece of cardboard
- Asha Greyjoy, my pet bunny rabbit
- My “new” 1999 Toyota Camry for only having 75k miles on it. I’ve named it “The Longship Iron Victory”
- Tom for the fb messenger targ-kraken chat
- Diversions for being an outstanding, supportive store
- Zeb, Michael, Winston, and Ben for being true ballers
- Mikey the Bear, Laura, Devin, Tonya, Doug, and Ian for making our meta one sick buzz after another
- You, for reading this far! Hope you had some fun!
- To whoever thought that players would enjoy five acrylic tokens instead of fifteen acrylic tokens
- Me for being super pumped about standing Daeny back up with Rhaegal after my attack into For the Watch fizzles… oh wait…
- Me for writing so much about a little GNK
Bonus Content! An adorable picture of Asha: